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    September 25, 2020
    6 minute read

    The Difference between PIM and PXM

    by: Christian Hassold

    A common question among ecommerce leaders is, “what’s really the difference between product experiment management (PXM) and product information management (PIM)?” While, at times, the distinctions can be subtle, brand leaders must know the difference between the crucial X and I to ensure digital shelf success. 

    PIM is a system that helps in centralising your product content and streamlining workflows. PXM, on the other hand, is an overall approach to commerce. PXM is the umbrella and PIM, among other tools such as enhanced content, digital asset management (DAM), insights, syndication, and more, fall underneath PXM’s overarching reach. PXM is focused on overall consumer engagement and loyalty through all these tools.

    PXM, which includes PIM, is crucial for elevating digital content to the level consumers expect today. Digital is getting more and more important — Forrester Research predicts that digital will see almost a 20% increase in online sales in Europe’s five largest economies by the end of 2020.

    Consumers are following more complex customer journeys, researching online but buying in person, looking at products on one retailer online and then buying from another, the options only continue to grow. The customer journey is increasingly unpredictable and personalised. This is where PXM shines. 

    What is the Digital Shelf?

    The digital shelf is a “collection of diverse and rapidly evolving digital touchpoints used by shoppers to engage with brands and discover, research, and purchase products.” 

    The Digital Shelf Changes Constantly

    Consumer habits influence how the digital shelf looks. The digital shelf varies between every shopper because of the individual and personalised shopping journey each takes — every course to sale is non-linear, occurring at any time of day, in any place.

    Each step can be pushed and pulled in different directions based on the channels the consumer shops in and the outside variables they’ve interacted with such as feed ads, search engine keywords, reviews, and product inventory.

    No Room for a “Set It and Forget It” Strategy

    Continuous effort and optimisation are required to find success. Brands have to engage shoppers at every touchpoint — especially as retailer requirements and algorithms change over time. 

    Your brand may find some selling channels perform better than others for your products and target market. Content should be analysed and updated frequently based on consumer preferences. The experience can be modern but keep it consistent. In short: content is your brand’s packaging on the digital shelf.

    What is a PIM?

    PIM’s goal is information organisation and accuracy. A PIM system is a “central repository to store, access, and update product information like marketing copy, feature descriptions, and logistics information. It provides the source of data your brand needs to sell across the digital ecosystem.”

    Streamline Operational Efficiency

    Rather than relying on manual workflows, which are often time-consuming, error-prone spreadsheets, a PIM system consolidates product information and digital assets from across your company into one easily accessible, trusted source of truth. With a PIM system in place, teams can stay laser-focused on enhancing content and assets, instead of endlessly chasing the most accurate version of your product content.

    Create a Central Source of Truth

    Once product information and digital assets are uploaded into a PIM system, you are able to revise and edit PIM content as often as you’d like. With every new catalogue updated, the PIM will be updated too. Automated schedules can be established to import and export content to internal and external partners like retailers. 

    Remote product content work is also possible with the Salsify PIM system. Our PIM system is cloud-based, so anyone with access rights can view, edit, enter, and export data from anywhere and at any time. 

    What is a PXM?

    PXM is how brands send product content optimised for every channel, when and where it’s needed in order to drive sales, build loyalty, and grow marketing share. It utilises an expanding list of capabilities, including PIM, syndication to deliver winning experiences across shopping platforms, enhanced content for engaging online experiences, comprehensive analytics to ensure continual optimisation, and many others. 

    Focus on the Entire Consumer Experience — Start to Finish

    Consumers expect brands to meet them where they shop, and that shopping experiences are personalised to their preferences. They only want relevant products and information, and convenience and seamlessness are expected.

    Use PXM to Evolve with the Ecommerce Ecosystem

    As the market, consumer buying behaviours, and retailer requirements evolve, so does PXM. PXM incorporates discovery and conversion analysis and will optimise the consumer experience with brand compliance reports, share of search analysis, and product page assessments, all on a continuous basis so your brand is informed and equipped to handle digital shifts.

    PXM vs. PIM: Why is PIM a Crucial Part of PXM?

    PIM is a fundamental component of PXM. Having a PIM system and workflows in place allows your brand to implement a higher form of content creation, optimisation, and distribution. 

    PXM empowers your brand to frequently and consistently improve your syndicated product experiences. It drives discoverability through search rank, and improves important metrics such as conversion, engagement, sales, and loyalty.

    A PIM-only approach is restricting and limits your brand’s ability to expand on the digital shelf. “Having a PIM-only approach to ecommerce weakens your brand’s ability to continually improve upon the product experiences you are syndicating across the digital ecosystem, which, in turn, can negatively affect search rank and — ultimately — conversions,” emphasises Rob Gonzalez, our co-founder and CMO.

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